The Inevitability of Death


I’ve been thinking of death a lot, and I am amazed by its inevitability, frightened, as we all are, of the totally unknown, and yet feel a long sleep is somehow earned by those of us who live on the edge.- Jackson Pollock

I’ve been thinking of death a lot and I am amazed by its inevitability.

There are those who try to run from death, but in the end, there is no escape.

There is no sanctuary from death; no respite, no silk cocoon you can wrap yourself in to avoid it.

Death is life and life is death and therein lies the metamorphoses

for both change and death are unavoidable.

Should one fear death if it is inevitable, or push the fear of dying aside?

And in thinking of death, do we speed up our soul’s path to death?

Or does thinking of death make us more grateful for the time we have

but yet always looking over our shoulder, expecting death to arrive

into this precious life we have before death comes whispering our name.

How will death come; fragrant as a dozen red roses tied in a silk ribbon?

Or will death slither in on the belly of a snake waiting for the right moment to strike?

Will death wrap itself around you, choking your breath from you?

Death is the cold cup of coffee you never finish as you write your last words.

©2021 Linda Lee Lyberg

Author’s Note: I came across this obscure poetry form on another poet’s site, Paul’s Poetry Playground and decided to give it a try. Essentially it is a poetry form invented by poet and art critic John Yau to pay tribute to the American abstract expressionist painter Jackson Pollock. It is a fourteen-line poem with the rather unusual requirement that the first line must be a quotation by the artist. The remaining thirteen lines consist strictly of words from Pollock’s quote, the idea being to splatter words repeatedly on the page like he famously did with paint on his canvases. But, you are also free to change the ‘rules’ as needed, much like Pollock did with his art. I most definitely colored outside the lines with my words!

Poets United Midweek Motif: Safety

dVerse OLN #248

75 Comments on “The Inevitability of Death

  1. What an intriguing form! You definitely Jackson Pollocked the motif of death and its promise and how to be aware of it or not. The idea of being safe from death is–to me–about immortality. I especially like the questions about how it comes. I’d take either the roses or the snake … if I had a choice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susan, your words mean so much. I intended for the poem to be chaotic, much like his paintings, but yet an underlying message. From your words, sounds like I accomplished that!


  2. Wow! Mission accomplished! You dove right into the chaos and stirred it around well! Your mixture, though chaotic, also makes sense. The last line is superb!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Never heard of this poetry style before Well done You have stated some interesting questions. I am not afraid of death at all I am just afraid of having to suffer before you die. I do believe that thinking about dead makes you more grateful. The Buddhists and the stoics (roman philosophy which is popular again) on purpose think about dead for that reason.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have no pretensions of being considered a poet and have difficulty recognising one style from another. However, I really enjoyed the way you developed your poem from the opening line. As one who has had a few very close and sometimes painful encounters with death, I found your poem both evocative and comforting – if that makes any kind of sense. Your excellent last line could spawn a whole series of new poems in the same format.

    As earlier commenters have written, those encounters do make us grateful for every minute we have. I also find serenity and acceptance with daily readings from the Stoic philosophers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter, Your words mean so much to me, truly. This was a new adventure for my mind to say the least. The freedom I felt while writing was liberating. I love your thoughts on the last line, now you have my head whirring!


  5. This is an interesting form, Linda. They say how we live is how we will die….everything I have read reassures me that, most often, a peace and surrender comes over us at that time. A poem that makes one think – a very good one, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What an intriguing form! I shall have to try it sometime. Yes. Death is inevitable. And too often, people run to greet it. Very sad it is that it should be that way. Death is the cold cup of coffee you never finish as you write your last words…now that is one heck of a closing line.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I only know I’ve asked these words to be inscripted on my headstone …. “WHAT’S NEXT?”

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This is so unlike your normal poetics, it startled me. I feared you were in a personal crisis. So a great sigh was uttered reading your explication.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. My mother used to say, when I’d ask her what happens at the end of some book, “everybody dies in the end.”

    Liked by 1 person

  10. We may as well colour outside the lines seeing as how death doesn’t care either way. I enjoyed this!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Interesting form to write about the coming of death Linda. Who really knows when it will strike but I really admire that last line – it is deathly chilling.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This is a fascinating poetry form, and you explore fascinating ideas. Effective use of simile and metaphor, especially in the final line, as I find that a stark image and a creative metaphor.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Thank you for sharing this for OLN Linda. Engaging read, and well written. At nearly 73, I think on death a lot — especially since that night in April 2017 when my heart stopped, earning me my pacemaker. Sobering contemplation.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. This. “How will death come; fragrant as a dozen red roses tied in a silk ribbon?” I want it to be like this!
    And here I sit….having just published my sestina (what a challenging form!) and catching up finally on some dVerse reading….having finished writing and posting…and yep. There’s a cup about a 1/4 full of cold coffee sitting here! Oh my.
    This was an interesting post for me to read….I have a dear dear friend who I’ve been corresponding with a lot lately as her husband of 49 years is in hospice. It is the loneliness she fears…and he is not yet resigned to dying….there is mystery in both sides. Yes?

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: